meltdowns? fall asleep/tired or biting meltdowns?

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Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Age: 28
Gender: Female
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26 Jan 2018, 1:37 pm

I get bad meltdowns about once a month, usually in response to immediate or gradually built-up emotional overwhelm.

When they happen, I bang my head as hard as I can on any available surface, including the floor. Sometimes I smack my head repeatedly with both hands, hit my legs, bite my hands, wrists, arms and fingers, and scratch at my body. If someone tries to touch or restrain me during this time, I scream and do my best to escape. If I can't pull away, I get violent, headbutting and trying to bite the other person. I had a meltdown on Tuesday and bit my friend in the arm.

If the person is able to outlast me, and gets me into a firm restraint, the deep pressure relaxes me almost immediately, and I calm down. I'm nonverbal during the episode, and for several hours afterwards. Once it's over, I get extremely tired, and have to sleep. I always feel worn out and horrible after meltdowns. I wish they didn't happen so frequently.

I'm actually looking at getting help from a psychiatrist who may be able to prescribe something to combat my meltdowns, since my violent head-banging is starting to cause neurological concerns.

"Survival is insufficient" - Seven of Nine
Diagnosed with ASD level 1 on the 10th of April, 2014
Rediagnosed with ASD level 2 on the 4th of May, 2019
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Joined: 2 Feb 2016
Age: 50
Gender: Male
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Location: Yorkshire, UK

26 Jan 2018, 1:54 pm

Most often I shut-down rather than melt-down, but it can depend a lot on the circumstances.

Shut-downs from sensory overload can come on quite gradually sometimes - different parts of my brain seem to shut down one at a time. For example, I can be capable of getting myself away from the source of the stimulation, but at the same time lose my ability to speak or understand other people's speech. If I don't get away, eventually I become totally unresponsive - catatonic maybe (not sure quite how that is defined.) Once I get into that state, there's no telling how long like I will be like that, and nothing that the people around me do can pull me out of it - they just have to wait it out and/or carry me away.

Melt-downs tend to be because of a very sudden trigger which I didn't see coming, and the situation is not easily avoided. My usual response is flight - I just get the hell away however I have to, including barging people out of the way, knocking things flying and yelling at people. I usually seek out a peaceful place (nature very often), or a hiding place (cupboards, under tables, etc.) I can travel quite a way in that state, miles even, and usually don't remember anything of the journey. If I can't fly, then there's likely to be a lot of pushing and shoving, flailing arms and shouting.

After a shutdown/meltdown I will be incredibly tired for a day or so. However, this can actually be a very blissful, serene state - not euphoric at all, just incredibly peaceful. I've been meaning to ask about this here, as I've not seen many posts talking about the post meltdown fatigue. I wonder if it is similar to the post-seizure rapture that many epileptic people report. (PS: I'll make a new thread for that topic, so I don't derail this one.)

When you are fighting an invisible monster, first throw a bucket of paint over it.


Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 110

26 Jan 2018, 3:44 pm

When I was a kid my meltdowns were very violent, I would scream and hit things, crying and all sorts, scratch myself, hit my head against the wall, if anyone touched me it got worse. I would blank out and not remember anything, then finally fall asleep after crying so much I got a headache.

As an adult I would say I shutdown more than I meltdown, my boyfriend has full blown meltdowns with screaming and hitting things, however I am more likely to shut off, go mute and hide under/in things. I do often scratch myself, and I used to self harm kinda as letting the pressure out. I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes I could tell when I was getting really overwhelmed and it was kinda like letting the pressure out of a cooking pot. I often do this thing where I push my nails really hard into the pad of my thumb so it hurts which I find helps a bit. No matter what happens a meltdown normally ends in sleep or if I can't sleep feeling totally exhausted.

As a teen I often felt I had no warning and I would just suddenly explode, same as when I was a kid. I've had to learn really carefully how to tell if I am close so I can go walk away find a private place and cry and curl up for a bit and stim and shake etc. It would be my worst nightmare to do it in public these days. I feel self conscious enough as it is.

When I melt down it feels like the worlds closing in on me and all the sounds and lights get really really bright and I can see and hear everything and its really really loud and I can't close it out and I feel like screaming and rocking backwards and forwards. I rarely scream anymore, but rocking is good. Everything just changes into one huge blur and I will often dissociate to cope esp if I am in a public setting.

My triggers are often feeling trapped in anyway, like I can't get out of somewhere. I will have them sometimes due to my PTSD, a flashback can career into a meltdown rather dramatically. Being around people for too long, like if someone who I don't expect is in my house for multiple days (my boyfriend has a habit of inviting people round and not telling me when they will leave). When lights are too bright I get close, but normally not just that on its own will do it, it just kinda adds up and then I end up exploding/imploding. Also any kind of change I didn't expect and have time to prepare for, I don't cope with change well at all and that can often be a leading cause. In fact even if I do prepare for it it can greatly distress me.


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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
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26 Jan 2018, 4:28 pm

I'm very verbal and communicative during a meltdown. If it is too inconvenient to talk (or whine) to someone, I come to WP and post my feelings. It usually helps.

Aged 31
On antidepressants
Have ASD, ADHD and anxiety disorder
Empathy score: 61 out of a possible 80. (High)


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Joined: 14 Jan 2018
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Location: UK

26 Jan 2018, 5:46 pm

I block people out by putting my hands in front of my eyes or my fingers in my ears. I become very tired when asked to discuss my feelings. I try to avoid discussions this way, but if I jump on a computer I will perk right up in no time. This doesn't happen very often but can happen a lot when I spend time with people that I find emotionally demanding.